08 February 2010

Does biodiversity affect your business? And other supply chain, company, government and research news

Top Stories

Loss of species hits economy; new U.N. goals needed.reliability high.
"Losses of animal and plant species are an increasing economic threat and the world needs new goals for protecting nature after failing to achieve a 2010 U.N. target of slowing extinctions, experts said Friday. Losses of biodiversity "have increasingly dangerous consequences for human well-being, even survival for some societies," according to a summary of a 90-nation U.N. backed conference in Norway from February 1-5." "Apart from food production, less obvious sectors such as tourism, medicines or energy production with biofuels all depended upon nature and diversity of species." From Reuters. [Can loss of biodiversity be an issue for businesses? Maybe so, even if your business doesn't depend on the vanishing Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (see item below).]

Study: access to good public transportation can make foreclosures less likely.reliability medium.
A study found that in San Francisco, CA, Chicago, IL and Jacksonville, FL neighborhoods with better "Location-efficiency" had lower rates of foreclosure. "Location-efficiency is "a measure of the transportation costs in a given area," and it includes not just car ownership, but also if the area has reasonable public transportation." See Autoblog Green. PDF of study here. [HaraBara hasn't analyzed the study, but notes that housing is often more expensive when closer to public transportation. Maybe homeowners in transportation-rich (mainly downtown) neighborhoods can afford more expensive houses and can afford to keep up their mortgages. But if they get in trouble they can sell one or all of their vehicles and keep paying the mortgage with the savings, since driving costs more than public transport. People in the suburbs can't sell their cars.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

FTC warns Wal-Mart, Target, others on bamboo labeling.reliability high.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission "sent letters to Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Amazon and 74 other companies warning them that rayon clothing and other products cannot be labeled as bamboo . . . . 'While we have seen action by some retailers to correct mislabeled clothing and textile products, our hope is that these warning letters will serve as a wake-up call to all companies, regardless of their size,' said David Vladeck, director of the agency's Bureau of Consumer Protection." From Reuters. [This is an old story (see Daily Brief last October and our blog posts Bamboozled and It's Easy Being Green--If You Lie) and it is hard to believe any responsible company hasn't come down hard on its suppliers to end this misleading labeling.]

Starbucks Asks U.S. Mayors to Help Improve Recycling.reliability medium.
Starbucks made a pitch to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, urging them to "evaluate and improve local commercial and residential recycling systems, so that the company can develop what it calls a 'comprehensive recyclable cup solution' by 2012." It is hard for Starbucks, with thousands of stores in jurisdictions all around the world, to deal with the patchwork of recycling and waste regulations it faces. See 2Sustain.

FoodHub Rolls Out as a Matchmaker between Farmers, Food Producers, and Buyers.reliability high.
FoodHub, A social venture business of the nonprofit Ecotrust, launched its service for matching local food suppliers to customers in the Pacific Northwest. "Sophisticated search capabilities allow buyers, both large and small, to instantly discover ready suppliers with a few clicks of their computer keyboard. Conversely, sellers can use FoodHub search features to identify new buyer leads and build targeted customer databases. All registered users can complete an online profile that includes a detailed description of their operation and preferred methods for doing business. FoodHub supports both direct market relationships and leverages existing distribution channels to encourage growth in regional food sales." See CSRwire. [Building green supply chains.]

Hawaii Senate Says Cutting Back on Paper Has Saved $1.2 Million.reliability high.
"Looking to cut government waste, the Hawaii Senate decided two years ago to take aim at a target that was all over the Capitol: paper. . . .  The Senate recently reported a two-year savings of more than $1.2 million — nearly eight million pages, or the equivalent of over 800 trees. 'Doing it this way was so different and daunting at first,' said the Senate clerk, Carol Taniguchi. 'Now it really seems to be a way of life.'" More on the changes, and reaction of users. See New York Times from AP.

Government and Regulation

Bluefin tuna international trade ban proposal backed by UN agency.reliability high.
The head of the scientific unit of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) has come out in favor of listing Atlantic Bluefin Tuna under appendix I of the convention, thus making international trade in the species illegal. "There are 530 animal species – including all the great apes, cheetahs, the snow leopard, the tiger, and all sea turtles – as well as 300 plants on its appendix I banning international commercial trade in species deemed under threat of extinction." A two-thirds majority of "Some 175 countries are due to vote on 40 proposals during the Cites triennial meeting in Doha, Qatar, from 13-25 March" will be required for the listing. "Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks have declined by more than 80% since 1970." From The Guardian. [When the exploiters of a resource are making so much money that they might cause irreparable damage, can the UN has to step in to save it? Didn't work at Copenhagen.]

Science and Economics

Arctic melt to cost up to $24 trillion by 2050: report.reliability high.
"Arctic ice melting could cost global agriculture, real estate and insurance anywhere from $2.4 trillion to $24 trillion by 2050 in damage from rising sea levels, floods and heat waves, according to a report released on Friday." The technical paper, "An Initial Estimate of the Cost of Lost Climate Regulation Services Due to Changes in the Arctic Cryosphere", reports research funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. From Reuters. Access the report here. [The researchers estimated "In 2010, the loss of Arctic snow, ice and permafrost is projected to cause warming equivalent to 3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, equal to 40 percent of total annual U.S. emissions. By the end of the century, this warming equivalent is projected to double." Using various assumptions for the "social cost of carbon" per tonne of emissions, they calculated "In 2010, the loss of Arctic snow, ice and permafrost is estimated to cost the world US$61 billion to $371 billion" and "By 2050, the cumulative global cost is projected to range from US$2.4 trillion to $24.1 trillion".]

[Crossposted from HaraBara.com courtesy of HaraBara, Inc. Copyright © 2010 HaraBara, Inc.]